Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Insomnia Meets the Jodi Picoult Project

UGH! Waking up in the middle of the night and being unable to fall back asleep is one of my BIGGEST pet peeves. I loooove sleeping- one of my greater values in life, if you will.

So, imagine my surprise (not to mention, general annoyance) when I awoke last night and grabbed my phone to check the time. I normally awaken before my alarm goes off anyway (ever the morning person, that I am), but it's usually around the 5:30/5:45 AM range. Not... the 2:45 AM range.

Sigh. I had been EXHAUSTED the evening before, so I figured falling asleep would be no problem. I guess I was right- because falling asleep WAS no problem. It was more that whole STAYING asleep component...

I lay around for a bit, hoping sleep would come, but, well, that clearly wasn't going to be the case. Seriously, I arose at 2:45 AM like I would have at 6:30 AM anyway... all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Might as well seize the moment, and all that. I guess.

Good thing I have my Jodi Picoult project to keep me entertained, even in the wee hours of the morning! Yup, that's right. I just hopped right outta bed, turned on my light and...

Started reading. I was SO close to the end, so can you really blame me? Come on, now.

Unfortunately, I didn't have the same love for Picture Perfect as I had for House Rules . I actually went into reading Picture Perfect thinking I would fall in LOVE with it right away- it's all about a Hollywood celebrity couple! Hello!

So, without further ado, I present to you my review for...

Picture Perfect

384 pages

The book starts out with this new LAPD officer, Will, finding this young woman, Cassie, on the streets suffering from amnesia. He takes her in and adores her for a few days, until her husband realizes she has been found and comes to "get" her from the police station, all relieved and happy to have her back. The story basically turns into Cassie mapping back her memory, beginning with how she met her husband. She was working on an anthropology project in Tanzania when her location happened to coincide with the set for a Hollywood film starring none other than the king of Hollywood, Alex Rivers. They quickly fall in love and get married and she moves back to his Bel-Air castle with him. (Eee!! Bel-Air! This book totally won points for being located in Bel-Air, solely because it reminded me of... sigh, Will Smith. And The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Hearts and flowerslkjfslkj!) And that's pretty much where the fairytale ends. Without giving too much away (read: Alex Rivers is a D-bag with an extra capital D), you ultimately get glimpses of each individual character's family history to see how/why they ended up playing the life roles that they do.

My favorite part of the book:
How Jodi Picoult presents the awful cycle of abuse/repentance that defines Alex and Cassie's marriage. Depressing, sure. Necessary, yes. Even if you've never been the victim of abuse, you find yourself totally empathizing with Cassie (while simultaneously getting frustrated with her at points!). Picoult's well-developed characters really highlight the feelings and issues related to domestic violence, such that you can truly feel and understand the pain and misery involved (to an extent) in such a situation, even if you have never been a victim of such abuse yourself.

My least favorite part of the book:
I thought the storyline was incredibly farfetched. First, they meet in Tanzania, which, sure, is far-fetched, but I can handle that since we're dealing with Hollywood here. But there comes a point where Cassie has to go to Will's family's Indian reservation and, quite frankly, while I found it interesting to learn more about Indian reservation lifestyles, I just didn't think it flowed all that well. I mean, there was some talk about Will's Indian roots in the beginning, but then it kind of fell to the wayside until MUCH later in the book when Cassie has to flee there. And then it's like Indian reservation overload.

What I learned:
Just what it is like to be stuck in the shoes of a domestic violence victim. There were points in time that I grew SO frustrated with Cassie (hello! Just LEAVE him!). However, based on my very little education (read: Oprah) of the psyche of abuse victims, her actions were so realistic and necessary to bring to light, in order to understand the Godawful nature of domestic violence. Additionally, I learned a bit about the (pretty sad!) conditions of living on an Indian reservation, but I liked the focus on domestic violence much more.

How it ranks on my personal Jodi Picoult Project list...

1. Nineteen Minutes
2. House Rules
3. The Pact
4. My Sister's Keeper
5. Picture Perfect
6. Salem Falls

Oh well. Onto the next one!

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